North Korea vows to respond to United States aggression with 'nuclear attack'

Delia Watkins
April 18, 2017

The U.S. and South Korea's military said Sunday's missile was launched from Sinpo, on North Korea's east coast.

Meanwhile, senior US intelligence officials told NBC News that America will not hesitate to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if it was determined that the country is following through with a nuclear weapons test.

There can be no winners in a war between the United States and North Korea over nuclear weapons and missile programmes, a Chinese minister has said.

Any fighting on the Korean Peninsula is likely to draw in China, which has repeatedly expressed concerns about a wave of refugees and the possible presence of US and South Korean troops on its border.

North Korean soldiers also rolled out what appeared to be another large rocket covered by a canister.

The Pentagon and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it wasn't immediately clear what type of missile was involved.

Tracy sought to clarify Han's remark; "So you are saying if you feel North Korea is going to be attacked, you will use nuclear weapons?"

Despite historic ties as neighbouring communist states, China has grown increasingly frustrated with the refusal of Kim Jong Un's regime to heed its admonitions.

After a two-month policy review, officials settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement", US officials said Friday. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has been diverted back to the waters off Korea after heading for Australia, and US satellite imagery suggests the North could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

An official from South Korea's Unification Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules, confirmed that the man was Kim Won Hong and said his appearance shows he has been reinstated from a "purge state".

"The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo".

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"We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks", he said.

Han said if the US shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own.

The country under his watch has been aggressively pursuing a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States.

"The most important option is finding a way to work with China, which requires I think a willingness to address some of their concerns", he said.

Other military hardware at the parade included tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery guns, as well as a solid-fuel missile created to be fired from submarines. This would allow North Korea to prevent its limited number of ICBM-capable launcher trucks from being damaged during launches and also make the missiles harder to detect after they're fired, he said.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests a year ago alone, advancing its goal to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy.

North Korea is warning any US provocation would lead to a "merciless" retaliation.

Analysts warn that even failed missile launches provide valuable knowledge to North Korea as it tries to build its weapons program. USA satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

Speculation that it could conduct a sixth blast in the coming days to coincide with the anniversary has reached fever pitch, with specialist United States website 38North describing its Punggye-ri test site as "primed and ready" and White House officials saying military options were "already being assessed".

But as the most likely target for retaliatory strikes by the North, South Korea are urging dialogue in the case of any North missile/weapons test.

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